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MR Update #04-17: State Budget, Disability Vote Forum, HIPAA, MR Bulletins, Regulations Review
May 27, 2004

State Budget
On May 11 the House added a variety of budget amendments that were passed. On May 18 the Senate passed a much-revised budget with over 200 House amendments removed. The Senate then made over $140 million in amendments of their own. This budget must now be resolved by a House-Senate Conference Committee.

PCPA’s May 25 Lobby Day provided an excellent opportunity for providers to visit their legislators and address the need for a 3% COLA for community Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Drug & Alcohol services. Senators Allen Kukovich and Jake Corman and Representatives Steven Cappelli, Mike Veon, and Matt Good spoke at the press conference indicating their support for increases for these services (See attached PA Legislative Services article).

PCPA members must continue with contacts and put pressure on their legislators. Phone calls, personal visits, letters, and emails must continue until MH/MR/D&A community services become a budget priority. The budget will be negotiated from House Bill 2579. For a copy go to www.legis.state.pa.us.

Disability Vote Forum
PCPA is one of the sponsoring partners of the “Forum on the Power of the Disability Vote in Pennsylvania” on June 17 from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at the Harrisburg Hilton. The forum will focus on what the disability community can do to register voters, get people to the polls, and to demonstrate the power of the disability vote. The cost is $25 per person by June 10. The registration form is attached.

HIPAA
It has been one year since the implementation of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Privacy Rule that provides protections for personal health information held by providers and health plans.

There are a variety of technical assistance materials (FAQs) published by the Department of Health and Human Services and available on their website at www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa. Privacy Rule clarification includes:

  • HIPAA does not require patients to sign consent forms before doctors, hospitals, or ambulances can share information for treatment purposes,
  • HIPAA does not require providers to eliminate all incidental disclosure,
  • HIPAA does not cut off all communications between providers and the families and friends of patients, and
  • HIPAA does not stop calls or visits to hospitals by family, friends or anyone else unless the patient objects.

Another resource for HIPAA information is the Office of Civil Rights that has created a listserve to distribute announcements, notices of resources and other educational information regarding the Privacy Rule. To subscribe access http://list.nih.gov and under browse, select OCR-PRIVACY-LIST.

MR Bulletins

  • #00-04-08 Determining Medical Assistance Eligibility for Individuals Age Three and Older Who Apply for Supports and Services Authorized by a County MH/MR Program. Effective July 1 this establishes procedures for assessing individual’s eligibility for Medical Assistance (MA) following the development of the person’s Individual Support Plan (ISP) and only if the plan costs exceed $8,000. Support Coordinators will assist in the application and enrollment process.
  • #00-04-09 Determining Medical Assistance Eligibility for Families of Infants and Toddlers Who Apply for Supports and Services Authorized by a County MH/MR Program. Effective July 1 the requirement is for an assessment for MA eligibility to be made through the county’s Early Intervention Service Coordinator and if found eligible an Individualized Family Service Plan will be developed.

OMR Regulation Work Groups
OMR Regulation Review Work Groups have been meeting for several months to address revising the 2380/2390 Adult Day/Vocational, 6400 Community Homes, 6500 Family Living, and 6600 ICF/MR regulations.

  • 2380/2390 with PCPA representation by Jane Harper from Family Services of Western PA, are addressing health and safety as the prime concern, effort to decrease costs when possible, and work towards an outcome of meaningful employment.
  • 6400 with PCPA representation by Vicky Burnside from Community Services Group, has developed guiding principles of health and safety, no new costs and attempt to decrease costs, regulations to be objective, concise and measurable, and ensure individuals receive supports/services from qualified staff.
  • 6500 with PCPA representation by Mary Rita Smith from Threshold Rehab Services and Lesley Corey from PA Mentor is reviewing the regulations by section and making some wording change. The group continues to weigh the option of going from an individual licensed home to an agency licensing status as done in the foster care system.
  • 6600 with PCPA representation by Sue Paulhamus from Community Services Group are addressing the need for data to identify the differences between small and large ICFs, how to support medically fragile individuals as related to the size of the agency, and medication administration.

Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Changes
The newly appointed Acting Deputy Secretary for Children, Youth and Families will be Marilyn Eckley, who is presently director of PeopleStat. Eckley’s appointment must be finalized and will become effective June 1. The current Deputy Secretary, Wayne Stevenson, will work exclusively on DPW special projects in the areas of child welfare and juvenile justice. This office administers child welfare programs including child abuse prevention and adoption of special needs children.

Employment

  1. PCPA Mental Health Policy Specialist operating out of Harrisburg Office. For details contact George Kimes at PCPA.
  2. Chester County MH/MR Administrator located in West Chester. For details contact Deb Maccariella, Chester County Human Services Dept. at dmaccariella@chesco.org.
  3. Long Term Care Quality Improvement Operations Administrator, PA Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform located in Harrisburg. For details contact Jennifer Burnett at c-jburnett@state.pa.us.
  4. Coordinator for Disability Support Services, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. For details contact Marie Trottier, Office of the Assistant to the President, Harvard University, 617-495-1859 or apply on line at http://jobs.harvard.edu (Requisition #19409).

Grants
FY2004 Real Choice Systems Grants solicitation packages are available at the CMS web site www.cms.hhs.gov/newfreedom. An applicants’ teleconference is scheduled for June 7. The nine grants are: Quality Assurance and Improvement in Home and Community Based Services, Integrating Long Term Supports with Affordable Housing, Portals for EPSDT to Adult Supports, Mental Health Systems Transformation, Rebalancing Initiative, Living with Independence, Freedom and Equality, Family-to-Family Health Care Information Centers, and National State-to-State Technical Assistance for Community Living.

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